Microsoft is now warning their users that they too could be susceptible to the vulnerability that is known as “FREAK.” The vulnerability, which essentially allows for a weakened state of connection between computers and the websites they’re visiting – makes any computer that is being compromised at risk for an attack that is significantly larger. That being said, up until now this was something that was thought to only impact Chrome, Firefox and a few other browsers – mainly impacting Apple and Google users.
That being said experts have warned that computers that are impacted – even Windows-based systems could be infected with malware, or other malicious software that could ultimately do a lot of damage to a single computer – or an entire network of computers – if the vulnerability were exposed in a professional or enterprise environment. Microsoft pointed out though that, “Upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to help protect customers.”
The affected version of Windows include Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows RT.
This is not going to be something that the company lets go, and allows to fester while virtually every computer manufacturer and software producer frantically work to remove any risk associated with the decade-old vulnerability. FREAK stands for Factoring RSA-EXPORT Keys, and while this flaw might be as old as some computer networks themselves – or the companies running them – since many saw a major boom throughout the digital years after the 90’s not all systems will be corrected.
Microsoft noted in a security advisory that Windows Server 2003 will be unable to update beyond this point, and it still remains vulnerable. However, it’s unclear what Microsoft will do with it now that they are in the process of correcting the issues that were made apparent. This is just the latest in a long line of security flaws that have made people weary about what they’re doing online, and made everyone a little more conscious of what large companies are either doing or not doing – to correct some of these larger outstanding issues.
You can run the FREAK Test Tool to check whether your web browser is affected or not.